Christmas in Polynesia

by Mrs. Smith on December 28, 2011

Santa Hangs Ten!

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a fantastic tourist spot where people can come and get a real taste of the islands — literally (at their restaurants & traditional luau) and figuratively. There is nothing like it anywhere in Hawaii. We love taking the kids and immersing ourselves in the traditions and history of Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, and the other island countries of the South Pacific. Their night show is renowned as the best of its kind. ANYWHERE. Period.

This year, for the first time, they transformed the whole place into a holiday paradise of lights and music, and in the evenings (MWFSa) you could go and take a ride through their Christmas lagoon.
[Disclaimer: the pictures that follow don’t do it justice in the least, but I thought I’d share anyway.]

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean, “Christmas” doesn’t strike me as something historically celebrated by Polynesia. At least, not until Christianity came here. So what exactly would they be presenting? It was an adventure to find out.

F couldn't handle the flash... Funny, funny pictures...

It began with a long line. Fortunately we bring half a preschool with us everywhere we go, so it was a pretty entertaining hour in line. Also fortunately, it didn’t rain on us. I don’t think we came prepared for that, so it would have been even more “entertaining” if it had. Unfortunately, John and I didn’t think to have one of us wait in line while the rest of us sat and enjoyed the concert going on closer to the entrance. Oh well!

After a quick photo opp with Santa [see above], and a brief passing through the “North Pole,”ย we embarked on a big canoe for a 30-minute ride through Christmas.

A young boy sat at his grandfather’s knee and heard a modified story of ‘The Three Trees.’

3 Wise Men (singing O Holy Night)

I admit I was surprised to see the whole experience so completely centered around the story of Christ’s birth. The angel appeared to Joseph. ย He and Mary travelled to Jerusalem. ย The wise men saw the star. The shepherds heard the angel announce the birth of Jesus. The nativity was depicted in a beautiful, uniquely Polynesian version of the familiar scene.

There was music and narration throughout, and (almost) every tree in view was lit in a Hawaiian version of (almost) Temple Square.




It turned out to be a wonderful evening for our family to participate in a vivid reminder of what this season was really about. The Santa/celebration/fun that happened during the last fourth of the ride seemed but an appendage to the 3/4ths preceding it. Rather than overshadowing the true meaning of Christmas, it was simply an extension of sorts.




So, yes, I was surprised.

I was bracing myself for something fluffy and fun. What was experienced was deep, meaningful, and truly enhanced what we’ve been trying to teach our Smithlings.

If I hadn’t spent the whole time worrying about the possibility of having a toddler fall in the lagoon, or desperately wishing all four big kids would quit trying to touch the underside of every bridge we went under, I would probably have found myself profoundly touched.

Hopefully this year was just the first of many that the PCC opts to do this, so when you all come here for Christmas, you can see it yourself! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

mama boss December 28, 2011 at 11:01 am

I think the part that gets me the most is the “north pole”. I just find that a bit hilarious. ๐Ÿ™‚


Mrs. Smith December 28, 2011 at 11:15 am

I found it hilarious, too. Snow? Penguins? Here? Uhhhhh-huh.


Jenny December 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Oh, what a cool display! Would love to do a Hawaiian Christmas one of these years! ๐Ÿ˜‰


Mrs. Smith December 28, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Sounds good to me!


Wendy December 31, 2011 at 8:26 pm

A big canoe and Christmas TOGETHER?! Sounds beyond awesome.


Cassandra January 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm

It sounds wonderful!!

Happy new year! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚


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